CUT Las Vegas review (long)
- gringo_stu Aug 6, 2008 02:15 PM
I haven't seen many reviews of CUT on here, and a lot of questions. I thought I'd put one up, just in case it helps anyone. Also I'm a rambler so this review might be a bit um, long. We recently dined there about two weeks ago. We decided to eat at CUT during a Wednesday afternoon whilst wandering around the Venetian. The restaurant is open during the day to take walk in reservations, so we settled on an 8PM seating.
As we noticed their lounge/bar area, we came back a little early at 7.30PM, with the idea of getting a pre-dinner drink. This was no problem, the hostess happily led us to some seats. The main dining room itself seemed to be VERY busy, a good job we had reservations. After taking our drink orders our waitress curiously asked if we wanted to dine in the lounge, which we declined. She didn't seem too happy about it either. If you don't know the lounge is set on the big corridor between Venetian/Palazzo, dining in there wouldn't be that great with people wandering past staring in every few seconds.
Anyway, 8PM came and we were still sipping our drinks in the lounge. 8.10 came and we agreed we should check with the hostess, just in case we had been forgotten. We were told our table had just started dessert so we should be seated within 20minutes. We weren't overly impressed. It was 8.30 before we were finally led to our table. We also had to tell our drinks waitress to add our drinks bill to our dining bill in the dining room, she wanted us to settle separately in the lounge. Suffices to say, we hadn't had an impressive start to the meal.
As we were led to our table, the first thing I noticed was how loud the music in CUT was. They are definitely aiming for a trendy/hip vibe, and the diners were a mix of young and old alike. We were dressed business casual, but the room ranged everything from suits to tshirts. CUT isn't your classic American steakhouse.
Our waiter arrived at our table in a hectic rush, the restaurant was clearly slammed and he briefly explained the days specials before rushing away. We had already decided on the tasting before we came, so when the sommelier arrived we asked her to recommend a suitable wine, she chose a chateuneuf de pape around the $110 mark. A pleasant wine and decanted in a manner I haven't seen before, table side.
When our waiter retuned he seemed somewhat more attentive. I wondered if ordering the bottle of wine was a sign of intent we were here to eat properly. We chose some appetizers, one of which he swiftly dismissed as not that great (oxtail bouillon). Instead he recommended I go with the daily special which was a Crab Louis ($28). My friend went with the Pork Belly ($17) which he also approved of.
For our mains we each selected the tasting of new york sirloin ($140). For reference this comprises 2oz Japanese Wagyu (Kagoshima prefecture), 4oz American "Kobe Style" (Snake River Farms) and 4oz USDA Prime Dry Aged (Nebraska). I was in Vegas 3months prior to this meal, and the tasting was a little cheaper at $120 back then.
Out of step with the meal our waiter briefly returned to show us a big tray of meat, demonstrating the marbling of the various cuts. On a quieter night I imagine it might be standard practice to bring this out if people are unsure as to what they want. It was a nice touch to see the uncooked difference though.
While we waited for our appetizers we were offered a selection of bread, probably four or five types. I only really remember the carmelized onion bread, which as onion-tastic. Very very good.
Both our appetizers were great, my daily special of crab, avocado, horseradish, sundried tomato was excellent. Although somewhat of a classic, everything was fresh and clean. The presentation was also a pleasant surprise.
My companion also raved about his pork belly, likening it to ribs without the effort. I had a quick bite, it was deliciously tender. We quickly forgot about our earlier concerns, the food it seemed was spot on. The atmosphere of the restaurant also started to grown on us.
Next up the steaks. They arrived on a rectangular plate, ordered USDA dry aged/American/Japanese. The steaks were also finished off with a little butter, which I'm normally not a fan of. I can't recall how the steak cooked, but we asked them to decide what was best (probably medium/medium rare).
First of all the Japanese wagyu was superb and our clear favourite. If you have never had genuine wagyu, it's unlike any steak you have ever had. Boasting a delicious lip-smacking flavour and utterly tender, you could probably cut it with teh back of a fork. It is also exceptionally rich, I find 2-4oz my limit. On my last Vegas trip I had wagyu at Picasso and that has the edge for me, but only ever so slightly.
Our next favourite was oddly the USDA dry aged. A very strong and bold flavoured cut of beef and still exceedingly tender. Our agreed least favourite (whilst still plesant) was the American kobe style cut. It lacked the big flavour of the dry aged, and was not at all comparable to the richness of the Japanese wagyu. It seemed almost like a steak without a purpose, neither one nor the other.
A number of sauces and dips were brought out for free, these included whole grain mustard, home made steak sauce, chimichurri, red wine reduction, horseradish, bearnaise, and some other things I can't quite remember. Given the nature of the steak we ordered, we really didn't bother with the sauces, save a quick taste of each separately. I noticed these normally cost $2 each on the menu.
For sides we pigged out on herbed french fries ($12.00), bone marrow ($9.00) and mushrooms with shishito peppers ($18.00). It turned out that was quite a lot of sides and we could have happily shared one between us. In the end we had a lot of leftovers and felt a little guilty. The fries were great, even when we were stuffed we picked at them continually. We both took a taste of the marrow and declined further, seems neither of us like it. The mushrooms were also great, but the shishito heat was too strong for the wagyu.
We ended with a cappuccino ($4.75) and skipped dessert, full to the brim with steak. Final price for two with tax+tip was a hefty $670. By the time we left it had gone 11.20PM. Overall we really enjoyed CUT. The initial service quibbles caused us to question our choice, but the experience in the main dining room was superb once the restaurant calmed down a bit. CUT certainly isn't your average steakhouse. It's quite the opposite, in a loud, brash, arrogant Vegas kind of way. It's definitely not going to be everyone's cup of tea.
We will certainly be back. You can order the Japanese Wagyu in incremental 2oz'es. Next time we will probably go with 6oz of Japanese wagyu and an 8oz USDA dry aged, sharing between two.